I want to talk to you today about security. This COVID-19 event has threatened our security on many different fronts. It has ruined many people financially because of lost jobs and closed businesses. But it has not only threatened job security and financial security; it has also threatened national security. This is going to put us in a cold war with China.
From the start of the COVID-19 “plandemic,” the worldwide spread of the virus has been mirrored by a worldwide “infodemic” of false information and fake news spread across most media platforms. All of this fake news has caused a lot of insecurity. False information can cause a great deal of fear and insecurity.
Our governor issued a mask mandate last week. Three months into this “plandemic” and now it is mandatory to wear a mask. The governor is saying that science proves that masks slow the spread of the virus. This is fake news. This mandate threatens the security of our liberty. This is not about a virus.
There is a video circulating the social media platforms, (I saw it on twitter this past week), of a man giving a presentation to the US Department of Defense. This guy is giving a lecture about the brain and a gene called VMAT2 to a group of men in suits as well as various men in military uniforms. Many say that it is Bill Gates giving the talk, but the high resolution video debunks that. The man giving the presentation talks about religion and shows MRI brain scans of religious and non-religious people. He says that the inhibition of VMAT2 gene could, over time, cause a person’s brain to shift from a religious brain structure to a non-religious brain structure. VMAT2 is apparently the scientific name for what people term the God Gene. The speaker says that religious people have an over expression of the VMAT2 gene and that they can be vaccinated against this in order to eliminate this behavior. The project is called FunVacs. It involves a vaccine to cure religious fundamentalism.
References linking genes to complex human traits, such as personality type or disease susceptibility, abound in the news media and popular culture. There is a book out by Dr. Dean Hamer called The God Gene: How Faith Is Hardwired into Our Genes. The book discusses how “a variation in the VMAT2 gene plays a role in one’s openness to spiritual experiences.”
In his book, Hamer contends that one's predisposition toward spirituality is influenced by genetic factors. More controversially, he proposes that the VMAT2 gene is one of many potential genes that impinge on spirituality. Hamer identifies one particular variation, a change from an A to a C, present in 28% of the alleles [a-lee-als] in his data set, as a marker for the more “spiritual” version of this gene. This work has not been published in a scientific journal.
Is our government working on a project to vaccinate people against religious beliefs? I guess anything is possible, but I wouldn’t worry too much about it because no matter what they do to believers they can never remove them from the love of God. The world that we live in is uncertain and insecure, but believers have an unshakable security. Our salvation, our relationship with Yahweh is eternally secure.
To be a productive image-bearing Christian, we need to know that our future is secure. That's why understanding the security of our salvation is so important. It allows our fears to be dealt with, gives us confidence for the task at hand, and offers the emotional stability that we need. If we understand what the Bible has to say about God's security, we will see that the same God who saved us, keeps us.
To understand our security, let’s look at the closing verses of Romans 8. The theme of Romans 8:31-39 is the love of God for His people. God is for His people and only His people! But a lot of people mistakenly think that God is on their side. Hitler thought God was on Germany's side. We hear the same language used by political parties in our country with grand claims that they are doing the will of God, and so quite obviously, He must be on their side. What about you? Is God on your side? How do you know?
When Jeremiah received God's call, he trembled at the thought of taking God's Word to a stubborn people. But the Lord assured him:
They will fight against you, but they shall not prevail against you, for I am with you, declares the LORD, to deliver you.” Jeremiah 1:19 ESV
Jeremiah had God's assurance that He was with him. We have that same assurance if we have trusted Christ.
John Piper writes: "God is entirely for us, and never against us. None of our sicknesses is a judgment from a condemning judge. None of our broken cars or failed appliances is a punishment from God. None of our marital strife is a sign of His wrath. None of our lost jobs is a penalty for sin. None of our wayward children is a crack of the whip of God's retribution. If we are in Christ God is for us, not against, in and through all things—all ease and all pain."
I don't think that because God is for us as believers means that He doesn't chasten us for our sin. When a believer chooses to live in sin, there are consequences. Bad circumstances don't mean that we have sinned, but bad circumstances could be a chastening from the God Who is for us.
The passage that we want to look at this morning in Romans 8:31-39 is all about security! Our salvation is eternally secure; God is for us! Nothing can separate us from His love. We have assurance, and this assurance gives us hope. And hope will strengthen us through every trial of life.
Let me ask you something. Is our salvation ultimately due to our faithfulness or to God's? Earlier in this chapter we see that God has a plan:
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. Romans 8:28-30 ESV
The plan was to justify some people and then to glorify those people and in glorifying them, to conform them to the very likeness of Yeshua the Christ. Nothing can undo or interrupt the plan of God. It sweeps from foreknowledge and predestination all the way to glorification. We are secure because salvation is all of God.
Through the years, the subject of eternal security has been hotly debated in theological circles. There are people who have always believed (and many who believe even as we speak), that this salvation, which is granted in Christ, can be lost. Do I have the power to forfeit my salvation by rejecting Christ, by denying what I once believed and then stepping away? Or can a vaccine destroy my faith and my eternal security? These questions will be answered in this text.
In this text, Paul uses seven rhetorical questions. Why seven? In Scripture, seven represents qualitative fullness, completeness, totality.
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? Romans 8:31 ESV
What are the "these things?” There are many views on this. Some say he is referring to all that has been covered so far in Romans. I guess that is possible, but I think Paul is talking about all he has said in Romans 5-8. Let me try to explain why.
The theme of this section, 8:31-39, is the love of God. This is the second time in this letter that Paul has spoken of God's love. He first spoke of it in 5:1-11. The argument of this text is the same argument that he uses in 5:1-11. There is really not much added here to 5:1-11 in terms of actual argument. Thomas Schreiner, commenting on Romans 8:31-39, writes: "These verses function as an inclusio with 5:1-11, for both texts feature the confidence that comes from the hope of believers." Inclusio is a common literary technique of Hebrew poetry which involves repetition in a poem in a way which binds its parts together. It is a literary device based on a concentric principle also known as bracketing or as an envelope structure. It consists of creating a frame by placing similar material at the beginning and end of a section.
The theme of 5:1-11 is summed up in 8:31-39. Those who are justified are also glorified because of the love of God effective through the death of Christ. Salvation is secure! And all those who have left Egypt will be brought to Canaan, even though suffering awaits them on the journey. The parallels between 5:1-11 and 8:31-39 are remarkable! They both stress the certainty of future glory in the midst of suffering. The idea of security brackets this section. Paul's "these things" comprise all that is contained in 5:1-8:30.
Paul's question, "If God is for us, who can be against us?” expects a negative answer—No one. When Paul says "if" God be for us, he's not saying maybe He is and maybe He isn't. In the original text, this is a first-class condition. It can be translated "Since God is for us," or "Because God is for us." There is no truth more fundamental in all of God's Word than this truth. "God is for us." Because of Yeshua, the question is settled once and for all the. "God is for us." All that God is, all that God has, and all that God does, He does on behalf of His people.
"If God is for us, who can be against us?” Some scholars think this statement preserves part of a primitive hymn or a pre-Pauline confessional. We see this same idea in Psalm 56.
Then my enemies will turn back in the day when I call. This I know, that God is for me. Psalms 56:9 ESV
David knew that God was for Israel. As Israel journeyed from the land of Egypt through the wilderness to the promised land, it was a journey filled with danger. But God's presence was with Her, and the Israelites could respond to the fears that welled up in their hearts and cry: "If God is for us, who can be against us?"
These words were most likely often repeated as the Roman believers watched the gates being opened in the Coliseum and lions ran to tear their bodies apart. These words would have been a triumphant testimony to the faithfulness of God and their future glory.
The intention is not to say that no one is against them but rather that their opponents or enemies will not be successful. How do believers know that God is for them? Paul tells us in the next verse.
He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Romans 8:32 ESV
The typical Hebrew argument is to argue from the greater to the lesser. If God did the greater work of delivering up His own Son to death, will He not do the lesser thing and give them what they need to be sustained in their salvation? We see this same idea in Romans 5.
For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. Romans 5:10 ESV
Now if while we were enemies and as such we hated God and He came to us and reconciled us to Himself, we have thus become friends with God. "We shall be saved by His life." It's one of the most magnificent statements of the security of the believer in Yeshua that we have in all of the Bible. If anyone has any question about whether having believed in the Lord Yeshua you are safe and secure, just think of this text. Its truth should ease all of your problems forever because if He saved us when we were enemies, now that we are His friends, He surely will do something that is less—keep us in the salvation that we enjoy.
There is a particle in the Greek that intensifies the statement. It can be translated as "even.” It is commonly used to magnify the action of the verb. We could justifiably translate this verse as "He who did not spare even His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?"
Many scholars think that Paul may have had in mind another situation where a father did not spare his own son. God told Abraham to offer his son Isaac as a burnt offering. They made the long journey to the mountain of God where Isaac carried the wood and Abraham the knife and fire. He bound his son on the altar and raised the knife to strike the fatal blow when the angel of the Lord called for him to stop:
He said, “Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him, for now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.” Genesis 22:12 ESV
Do you see the similarities? The stories run parallel but only to a point. Abraham did not spare his son, but God intervened so that Isaac lived. Like Abraham, God "did not spare His own Son," but this time, He did not stop the fatal blow from falling upon His only Son.
"But gave Him up for us all.” Who delivered Yeshua to die? The Bible says that Judas gave him up (Mark 3:19), that Pilate gave him up (Mark 15:15), that Herod and the Jewish people and the Gentiles gave him up (Acts 4:27-28), and that we gave him up (1 Corinthians 15:3; Galatians 1:4; 1 Peter 2:24). It even says that Yeshua gave him up (John 10:17; 19:30). But Paul is saying the ultimate thing here. In and behind and beneath and through all of these human actions, God was giving up His Son to death.
Peter captured both man's part in crucifying Christ and God's underlying act to give up His Son to die for us.
this Yeshua, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. Acts 2:23 ESV
The early disciples understood this as well.
for truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Yeshua, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place. Acts 4:27-28 ESV
Ultimately, who delivered up Yeshua to die? Octavius Winslow in the 19th century wrote, "Not Judas, for money; not Pilate, for fear; not the Jews, for envy; but the Father for love!" Then he adds, "In this great transaction we lose sight of His betrayers, and His accusers, and His murderers, and we see only the Father travailing in the greatness of His love to His family" (No Condemnation, 361).
Verse 32 is an allusion to Isaiah 53:6, in which the Father handed over the Son to death.
All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. Isaiah 53:6 ESV
The death of Yeshua was due to the initiative of the Father. The Father willed the Son's death for the benefit of the elect.
Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush him; he has put him to grief; when his soul makes an offering for guilt, he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days; the will of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. Isaiah 53:10 ESV
It was the Father's intention from the beginning that in the promise to Abraham, “all nations shall be blessed” (Genesis 12:3). All would be fulfilled through the death of His Son. Paul says that He gave Him up His Son "For us all.” Universalists often use verses such as this to make their case. But Paul is in no way teaching universalism when he refers to "we," "our," and "us" (e.g. 8:15, 16, 17, 18, 23, 24, etc.) in the context. He is clearly addressing fellow believers. We must remember that Paul is writing to the saints.
including you who are called to belong to Yeshua the Christ, To all those in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Yeshua Christ. Romans 1:6-7 ESV
He is writing to the “called”—to those “loved by God and called to be saints.”
The prepositional phrase,"with Him,” takes us back to our union with Yeshua the Christ. It is a theme hammered out in chapters 5 and 6. All believers are in Christ. We share all He is and has.
"Graciously give us all things?"—the term "graciously" is from the Greek charizomai which is a cognate of the Greek word charis, "grace." Everything that God gives us, even the ongoing provision to His people following their salvation, is from His grace. God's grace in giving believers "all things" is never earned or limited. The ultimate benefit in this context is eschatological!
Believers, God has accepted Christ's death in our place, satisfied eternal justice through Him, and declared us righteous. Since that is the case, then what are we to do when we struggle with doubts? We are to go back to the Source. God did not spare His own Son when we desperately needed Him to stand in our place before God's wrath.
We frequently turn to our experiences and wonder if God loves us. It's not experiences; it's what does the Scriptures say? That's the important thing. Experience is never a proof of the love of God; it's the Word of God.
Are you going through a difficult time during this plandemic that causes you to wonder if God has abandoned you? Then think about God's sacrifice of His Son for you and no longer question His love and faithfulness.
Verses 33-34 use the forensic terminology of the law court.
Who shall bring any charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies. Romans 8:33 ESV
To "bring any charge" is literally the idea of "to speak out to." It was used as a judicial term in the ancient world to imply a legal accusation. What is the charge being brought against God's elect? I want to suggest to you that the charge is adultery:
Accordingly, she will be called an adulteress if she lives with another man while her husband is alive. But if her husband dies, she is free from that law, and if she marries another man she is not an adulteress. Likewise, my brothers, you also have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another, to him who has been raised from the dead, in order that we may bear fruit for God. Romans 7:3-4 ESV
The "you" here is plural. It refers to Jewish believers. Paul draws an inference from the previous illustration, noted by "you also." Just like the husband who died in the previous verses, you also died. "To die" is a passive indicative. You were "made dead" to the Law. The passive voice points to the sovereign, gracious work of God in applying the work of Christ to them regarding the reign of sin and the jurisdiction of the Law. It points back to our having become united with Christ in His death.
You used to be in a covenant relationship with the Law. You used to have this obligation to which you were mandated to bring about fulfillment. But that has changed. You were made to die to the Law. Literally, you were put to death; you were killed in regard to the Law.
If her husband dies, a woman is free to marry another. The second husband is Yeshua the Christ. She's married to the Old Covenant community, but he died, and now she is married to Yeshua. Therefore, there is no adultery.
Many scholars suggest that in verses 33-34, Paul is alluding to Isaiah 50:8-9. This marital context for the charge of adultery against God's people is supported by.
He who vindicates me is near. Who will contend with me? Let us stand up together. Who is my adversary? Let him come near to me. Behold, the Lord GOD helps me; who will declare me guilty? Behold, all of them will wear out like a garment; the moth will eat them up. Isaiah 50:8-9 ESV
If we examine the context of these verses, we find that the prophet has been explaining the marital status of Israel after God sent her into exile.
Thus says the LORD: “Where is your mother's certificate of divorce, with which I sent her away? Or which of my creditors is it to whom I have sold you? Behold, for your iniquities you were sold, and for your transgressions your mother was sent away. Isaiah 50:1 ESV
Later Isaiah writes:
I will greatly rejoice in the LORD; my soul shall exult in my God, for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation; he has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself like a priest with a beautiful headdress, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. Isaiah 61:10 ESV
Then in chapter 62 he says:
I spread out my hands all the day to a rebellious people, who walk in a way that is not good, following their own devices. Isaiah 65:2 ESV
Paul could be deliberately feeding off the divine marriage theme, and it could be in this context that the significance of the charge of adultery should be read. In effect, Paul is saying that there is no charge that can be brought that would nullify the relationship into which God is bringing His church (i.e., the consummation of the divine marriage).
If Paul is alluding to Isaiah 50, then the term "elect" is even more striking because now it is the Church and not Israel who is God's chosen servant. Believers can face the day of judgment with confidence. Just as God will vindicate the servant in Isaiah, so too the heavenly court will clear believers.
Here's the point. Above God, there are no higher courts. If God is the One who acquits you and declares you righteous in His sight, no one can appeal, no one can call for a mistrial, and no one can look for other counts against you. God's sentence is final and total.
Who is to condemn? Christ Yeshua is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Romans 8:34 ESV
Here Paul assumes what he has stated in 3:21-26: The death of Yeshua on behalf of believers satisfied God's wrath against them.
God alone condemns, and God alone justifies. If God has covered us with the righteousness of Yeshua and if God has granted to us His own righteousness, then no accusation can stand against us because such an accusation would have to stand against God or against Christ with whose righteousness we have been covered.
"Who was raised"—what does the resurrection declare? It proves that God accepted the sacrifice of Yeshua in our place; it verifies that His death satisfied the legal demands against us so that we are now accepted by God. Resurrection shows that the Law can no longer make legal demands of eternal death on those for whom Christ died. There is no longer condemnation because God raised Yeshua from the dead!
"Who is at the right hand of God"—the right hand refers to the place of authority, rule, and supremacy. This speaks of the sovereignty and dominion of Christ. As Psalm 110 explains:
A Psalm of David. The LORD says to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool.” Psalms 110:1 ESV
In other words, He cannot be conquered because He is the Supreme Lord.
"Who indeed is interceding for us"—while Israel wandered in the wilderness, they had a high priest who constantly represented them before God (Heb 5:1-4: 9:7-10). Throughout their journey, they faced spiritual and moral temptations as well as dangers from enemies who sought to prevent them from reaching their inheritance. Because of this, the ministry of the high priest was crucial. He offered sacrifices for the sins of his people and interceded for them. Yeshua does this same thing for the New Covenant people of God. The writer of Hebrews put it this way:
Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them. Hebrews 7:25 ESV
Yeshua saves forever! Not only does Christ's priesthood provide "grace to help in time of need," it also keeps us secure in Him, no matter how bad we mess up. He saves us to the uttermost. Because of His work, we will never be lost.
Verses 35-39 move away for the court of law language and employ the relational language of love.
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? Romans 8:35 ESV
The answer expected is: Nothing! The genitive of Christos is subjective, denoting Christ's love for believers. Here Paul lists "seven afflictions" that represent many of the problems Paul encountered in his apostolic ministry. Apart from the sword, which he later faced, Paul had already experienced each of these afflictions.
To the present hour we hunger and thirst, we are poorly dressed and buffeted and homeless, and we labor, working with our own hands. When reviled, we bless; when persecuted, we endure; when slandered, we entreat. We have become, and are still, like the scum of the world, the refuse of all things. 1 Corinthians 4:11-13 ESV
"Tribulation"—means "pressing" or "pressure." It came from the language of vineyards to refer to "the treading of grapes, the pressure that bursts." Tribulation runs the gamut to express that which puts pressure against living faithfully as a Christian. "Distress" means to be in narrow straits, whether physically, mentally, or emotionally. "Persecution" conveys that you are hunted down for harm, a common experience of many early Christians as well as millions in our own day. "Famine" and "nakedness" could be due to adverse agricultural and economic issues in that era or due to the persecution that left believers destitute. "Danger" could refer to any sort of danger. "Sword" implies the ultimate opposition—martyrdom for the faith.
All of these were the eschatological suffering of the transition saints. But I want us to realize that all these things could happen to us. You could have persecution. You could have trouble. You could someday face the sword. You could someday be naked. You could someday be living in famine. You could someday be persecuted for your faith. Someday, all these things could happen.
Verse 36 is even stronger:
As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” Romans 8:36 ESV
Here he quotes Psalm 44 as evidence that the suffering and trials of this present faith in Christ were nothing new. Believers in previous centuries faced the same issues. The words in the original Psalm express the perplexity of the people of God in the face of inexplicable suffering. The Psalm likely came out of the trials during the post-exilic period, that time frame of Ezra and Nehemiah and prophets Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi. It begins with a historical reflection, a meditation on God's deliverance and planting of Israel in earlier centuries, all looking back to the exodus story:
To the choirmaster. A Maskil of the Sons of Korah. O God, we have heard with our ears, our fathers have told us, what deeds you performed in their days, in the days of old: you with your own hand drove out the nations, but them you planted; you afflicted the peoples, but them you set free; for not by their own sword did they win the land, nor did their own arm save them, but your right hand and your arm, and the light of your face, for you delighted in them. Psalms 44:1-3 ESV
This follows with a confession of God as King and confidence that their deliverance would not be by bow and sword but by the Lord (44:4-8). Yet their anguish is seen in the next stanza—the longest of the Psalm's five stanzas. Though they had continued on in faithfulness to the Lord, they felt rejected by Him, as though He had given them over to their enemies as sheep to be eaten. Dishonor and humility overwhelmed them due to those reproaching them.
But you have rejected us and disgraced us and have not gone out with our armies. You have made us turn back from the foe, and those who hate us have gotten spoil. You have made us like sheep for slaughter and have scattered us among the nations. You have sold your people for a trifle, demanding no high price for them. You have made us the taunt of our neighbors, the derision and scorn of those around us. You have made us a byword among the nations, a laughingstock among the peoples. All day long my disgrace is before me, and shame has covered my face at the sound of the taunter and reviler, at the sight of the enemy and the avenger. Psalms 44:9-16 ESV
Then they plead their case! They had not turned their back on the Lord or turned from following Him, yet it seemed as though He had given them over to their enemies (44:17-19). As happens so often in Hebrew poetry, the answer to their dilemma came in the last stanza (44:20-26). There they understood something of the reason for their plight:
Yet for your sake we are killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered. Psalms 44:22 ESV
The reason for their suffering was precisely because of their union with the Lord. God was not removed from them in spite of their circumstances. He had not abandoned them, thus they had grounds to cry out to Him for help:
Rise up; come to our help! Redeem us for the sake of your steadfast love! Psalms 44:26 ESV
That last word is precisely what Paul had in mind when teaching us assurance through Christ's love. "Steadfast love” refers to God's covenant mercy or His loyal love for those whom He redeemed. He does not abandon the objects of His redeeming love!
Paul quotes from this Psalm because it reflects the experience of the New Covenant pilgrim community, the Old Covenant remnant, and the New Testament church’s suffering in spite of their integrity and faithfulness to God.
Martyrdom is a terrible reality for some of God's people scattered around the world. We hear about this each week in our "Persecuted Church" report.
Hopefully, you will see from this text that Yeshua still loves you even though you may be going through a hard time. Yeshua still loves you though you may be out of money. Yeshua still loves you though your body may be wasting away on the outside. Yeshua still loves you though you may be persecuted for your faith. Yeshua still loves you though your marriage may be falling apart. Yeshua still loves you though the world may be against you. Yeshua still loves you though you may feel like the lamb being led to the slaughter.
Trouble can take many things away from the people of God. It can take our happiness, prosperity, health, and friends away. But there's one thing that trouble cannot take away from us. It cannot take away the love of God which is in Christ Yeshua.
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. Romans 8:37 ESV
"More than conquerors" is one word in the Greek. It is hupernikao which means "to vanquish beyond, that is, gain a decisive victory, to be more than conquer." The word nikao is the word for "conquer." We are more than winners. We are more than conquerors. We are hupernikao ("super conquerors, sweeping victory, overwhelming victory”).
The anticipation of suffering and death should not deter the members of the pilgrim community. "In all these things"—is possibly the translation of a Hebraism meaning "despite all these things."
The history of the Old Covenant people demonstrates the faithfulness of God and His commitment to His people. Not even judgment and exile could bring God's love for His people to an end. His covenant to Abraham was not abandoned but was moved towards its fulfillment in the New Covenant promised to those in exile.
Paul wanted these transition saints to understand that their glorification was not founded on their goodness; it was founded on God's election. It was not founded on their wisdom; it was founded on God's call. It was not founded on their personal submission; it was founded on God's justification. It was not founded on their perseverance; it was founded upon the power of God to keep them. What holds that all together is undying covenant love.
For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Yeshua our Lord. Romans 8:38-39 ESV
Paul says, "I am sure.” The word means "to be fully and absolutely persuaded on the basis of evidence that cannot be denied." He uses a perfect passive indicative verb. The perfect tense means something like: "I was persuaded in the past, and I am fully persuaded in the present" or "I used to believe this, and I still believe it today."
The passive voice here is important. Had Paul believed that his confidence rested on his experience or his response to God, then he would have used the active voice; that is, he would have demonstrated that it was what he had personally done that brought him assurance. Then we would be forced to compare our experience with Paul's as the standard for assurance. But he used the passive voice which means that he had nothing to do with the action but rather, he had been acted upon. His confidence rested in the work of Another and not his own.
The word "separate" means "to violently tear from, to completely divide." Paul assures us that nothing that happens to us can finally and completely separate us from the love of God. There is no state of being in which you could ever be separated from the love of God which is in Christ Yeshua.
I have heard people ask whether they can willfully separate themselves from God and His love and choose to not be saved any longer. Look at the text. It says, “Nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Yeshua our Lord.”
“Nor anything else in all creation”—are we part of creation? The answer is, "Yes." Then it is not possible for us to separate ourselves from God's love. Why? Because those whom God loves, he loves forever. Those whom God saves, he saves forever. Those whom God justifies, he justifies forever. If we by faith have come to Yeshua for salvation, He will never cast us out (John 6:37), and He will never allow us to cast ourselves out.
This chapter started out with "no condemnation" and it ends with "no separation." This is security—absolute security! If you are in union with Christ by faith, then these promises belong to you. You will never be eternally condemned, and you will never be separated from God's eternal covenantal love. Glory in this! Apply this! Enjoy this! Sing about this! Rejoice in this!